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no part failed; and we earnestly hope that when the evil shall have become more universally known, and the remedy have been substantiated by a somewhat longer trial, we shall see a multiplication of these efforts to drain and ventilate the morals of the people.
The Society's first houses, those in King Street and Charles Street, Drury Lane, hold respectively 24 and 83 lodgers, in rooms of unequal size, containing from 3 to 11 beds. The locality could not have been better chosen ; it is as bad as any in London, and in the immediate neighbourhood of many of those receptacles which it was most desirable to put out of countenance. Over each house a man and his wife are placed in charge; they are invested with full authority to receive payments, admit or reject applicants, and enforce order. They have the care of all the property of the establishment, and make periodical reports to the superintending Committee of the Society, which provides the additional check of a special Inspector. Each person on bis en. trance, like a letter by the post, is 'pre-paid.' He puts down 4d. for the night's lodging; and for that sum he is entitled not only to a single bed, and a clean one, in a room not densely crowded, but to a seat in a large well-warmed common apartment with benches and tables, until the stated hour of retiring to rest, and to his turn at the kitchen-fire, to cook his dinner or his supper, as the case may be. He is provided, too, with ample means of washing, and even with a warm bath, if he is disposed to pay the extra charge of ld. -which is frequently and joyfully done. The rules, moreover, of the house secure him from all insult or annoyance; no uproar is permitted, drinking is strictly forbidden, and though smoking may be indulged, it is only, as in clubs or the House of Commons, in rooms assigned for that purpose.
That these efforts have already issued in a most happy change, is attested to us by many private gentlemen who have visited the houses, by the reports of the City-Missionaries, and, we may add, by our own repeated observation. Often have we heard these poor people speak with unrestrained thankfulness of the peace and decency they enjoy under those roofs, and seen them almost shudder when reflecting on the scenes they had left. The demand for admittance is endless : were the accommodation ten-fold, it would speedily be filled up. Disturbance is unknown; the lodgers in most instances, all those indeed who are constant inmates, have established laws for their own social government, whereby any one guilty of offensive conduct or language would, as the phrase is, be consigned to Coventry: the aid of the police is never required. The Society has omitted no legitimate allurements to attract
company—it has taken counsel from the enemy. “It is,' said a witness before the Constabulary Commission, 'a very usual thing with the lodging-house keepers to give all their customers a dinner on Christmas-day. We admire, though we suspect, their reverence for that holy season. The Society, however, has done the same; and here is the report of their agent, who affords us some curious peeps into private history :
On Christmas-day the lodgers, to the number of twenty-seven, were treated to a substantial dinner of roast-beef and plum-pudding. I presided at table, and was not a little amused at the enormous quantity of food some of the poor fellows devoured. Throughout the afternoon and evening their conduct and conversation was of the most exemplary character, their general appearance respectable-in many cases the appearance of having scen better days. After dinner I addressed them, and requested them to state freely the advantages (if any) they derived in the King Street House as compared with others of a similar description. The first who spoke was
he has received a college education, and informed me he was intended for the church. He partially entered into his personal history, stating what were the causes which had brought him under the necessity of living in such a neighbourhood. He stated that from the time he came to London, he had wandered from lodging-house to lodging-house, but had never met a home until he came here. The next was a youth about seventeen; his speech was nearly as follows :-“ I tell you what, Mr. M. and gentlemen ; I have been knocking about this here town all my life, and have lodged in a great many houses, and I must say this here is the best booth in the fair.” He then went on to tell how kindly he had been treated when ill, and of the instruction he had received from the other inmates, and concluded by amusing the company in giving imitations of the cries of various animals, the starting of the steam-engine on the railroad, &c., &c., which he did almost to perfection. Another said that in the house he had been taught habits of economy, which he had never before adopted; when he first came he was surprised and delighted with the intelligence he found among the inmates—“it was a school in which a man could obtain the best instruction without evil.” Another, in the course of his speech, declared he had not niet a drunken man in the house, and appealed to the others whether so much as four quarts of beer had been consumed there during the last five weeks. "The rest fully confirmed this, and said they would not tolerate a drunkard among them. Another, was formerly a mathematical teacher; his health failing, he became a commercial traveller; the same cause compelled him to give that up. He now obtains his living by selling an ingenious mathematical work of his own composition; he is a man of superior mind. He spoke highly of the management and the character of the inmates, comparing them to a happy united family. Others gave utterance to similar sentiments, and the evening was spent in the greatest harmony.' The benefit of thiese arrangements is not merely direct in the
use of the superior houses themselves. Every establishment so conducted becomes the centre of a healthy infection; a higher standard is raised, and people expect a better entertainment as the fruit of their money's worth.' Not long ago the keeper of one large and thoroughly abominable tenement assailed the Inspector with a volley of imprecations. · You have ruined me, he said, ' with your vile building there; since you opened that house of yours, I have been obliged to spend more than four hundred pounds in painting and cleaning !'
But the Society, in their second effort, attempted greater things, and determined to raise a new house from the foundation, constructed on the best plan, as a model for future establishments. They selected a site in George Street, Bloomsbury, in the neigh-' bourhood of Church Lane, and other streets and alleys of the şame Elysian description. Here they have erected a spacious, airy building, calculated to hold one hundred men and boys-firebrands, we hope, plucked from the fire of the general corruption.
The system and rules of this Refuge are almost a transcript of those laid down for the management of the original houses. The main difference lies in the superior accommodation. It consists of five stories besides the kitchen-floor; the staircases are wide, well lighted, and of stone; gas is supplied to all parts of the edifice, being put on and turned off at fixed hours, according to the season.
One of the lower apartments is assigned to the lodgers as a store-closet; each person having a small provisionsafe to himself, fronted with a plate of pierced zinc, which he keeps under lock and key—the room looks like a luggage-train of rabbit-hutches. The dormitories each contain no more than thirteen single beds; and each bed, with a narrow pathway at its side, is separated from the adjoining one by a high wooden partition, and approached by a private door from a common passage down the centre. In this small compartinent are a bed, a chair, and wooden box for clothes and other valuables, -and to this contracted but comfortable recess the tenant can withdraw himself, and enjoy an hour of retirement--a privilege as salutary to the poor as to the rich, but alas! rarely attainable in any walk of humble life. The advantage, we know, is most highly valued. On each floor are rooms with zinc basons and a full supply of water for personal cleanliness, and every other convenience; and below is a spacious laundry where the inmates may wash their linen-tubs, hot water, and drying-closets are provided. The use of these comforts, including salt, soap, towels, and a small library, is charged at the rate of fourpence a-night for every night in the week.
This is an increase of fourpence on the weekly payments of the other houses—an increase, how
ever, very cheerfully paid, and very moderate in reference to the advantages obtained ; it was rendered necessary, we may add, by the price of the land. The fruits of this establishment have been as happy as those of the others. We beseech any one who may entertain a doubt, to visit the house about eight o'clock in the evening, observe the arrangements, and converse with the inmates.
It need hardly be observed that if the Society can afford, and with an adequate profit, to provide all this accommodation for the price demanded at the most infamous receptacles, the gains of their proprietors must be really enormous. By way of specimen, we were informed by a most respectable missionary, that he knew an individual who rented a small house at 111. 14s. a-year. The man put into it eighteen double beds, which brought in 21. 8s. a-week, or 1241. 16s. per annum. If 131. 2s. be allowed for necessary expenses, a yearly profit of 1001. would remain on this paltry tenement. Another missionary, reported : 'One of the lodging-house keepers in my district told me that he came to London a journeyman-carpenter with only five shillings in his pocket, and now he could lay his hands any day on ten thousand pounds.' In fact, we are assured that many of the proprietors, hiring out such houses by the dozen, are men of notorious wealth, and live in what the worthy missionaries describe as 'great splendour’in different parts of London.
The model-house in George Street is the only one that has been raised from the foundation for this special purpose; but there are already in London several other good lodging-houses, not belonging to the Labourers' Friend Society, but copied from theirs. may mention an establishment in St. Peter's, Westminster, and another, for females, in Newton Street, Holborn, under the care, and at the charge, of the London City Mission. The system, too, has found its imitators in the provinces. At Birkenhead the spirited proprietors have constructed large barracks for the reception of their work-people, but so arranged as to give to each family a separate dwelling, with every convenience that comfort and decency can require. We have also visited establishments at Glasgow and Edinburgh-in both of which towns the necessity of such refuges is as great as in London; they are small and imperfect as yet ; but we hail the efforts as indicative of better things. In Glasgow we endeavoured to ascertain from the inmates some particulars of their history; but the native caution of the Scotchman was a match for our curiosity; and we learned but little beyond the gratifying fact that many of them were persons recently arrived in search of employment. Here, then, the establishment was meeting the very evil we mentioned
at the outset. In Edinburgh the hostelry is situated in the Westport; and the contrast of the past with the present use of the premises adds a peculiar interest to the experiment-for the cellars of that house were, in former days, the infamous laboratory of Burke and Hare.
Such is the outline of the domiciled condition of tens of thousands of our countrymen ; and such the progress of some efforts that have been made to improve them. Would that we might hope to be this once listened to! For we are not unacquainted with the worst vexation that awaits the investigator and publisher of social evils, —who sees the mischief growing rapidly under his eyes, yet his statements, his warnings, his entreaties, fall still born to the earth, and earn nothing for him but the title of humanity-monger! Meanwhile ignorance or carelessness, or both together, heap one wrong upon another; every improvement in streets, squares, or approaches; every architectural clearance, prompted by taste or convenience, brings trouble to the impoverished multitude. This may
be sport to us, but it is death to them. They are driven, at a very short notice, from their humble abodes, to search in vain for other dwellings, which, in common justice, should be prepared for them at an equal charge;—we have seen them in agonies of doubt, worn by fatigue, and anticipating a much increased rent for a still more miserable accommodation. They press, of course, into the densely crowded lodging-house, which, though miraculously elastic, refuses at last to receive any more. A short time ago whole troops of these ejected sufferers might be seen sitting night by night on the cold and damp staircases, arranged like flower-pots on the stands of a greenhouse !
We submit these things to the consideration of all ranks and professions--to every holder of property, whether urban or provincial. London is the fountain and head-spring of seventenths of the crime of England; the hotbed in which are conceived and ripened those deeds of fraud and violence which are afterwards perpetrated by metropolitan emissaries. This fact is established beyond a doubt by the inquiries of the Constabulary Commissioners; and it surely demands the serious reflection of all speculators, and seekers of political security, in the improved education of the people. Thus much for personal and social interests. Of others of a graver and inore solid wisdom we demand, whether a state of things so awfully degrading, and yet so easily removed, should any longer be permitted to exist under the dominion of a Christia. Sovereign?